Wednesday, December 05, 2012

British Scouts’ pledge to drop any mention of God in promise with new members able to declare themselves as atheists

I doubt that this is a big issue either way in Britain.  Homosexuality is, I gather, the big issue for Scouts.  I did once know a Scoutmaster who seemed very fond of little boys.  It seemed likely to me that Scouts would be a magnet to his type so I never even considered sending my son to Scouts.

The Scouts are to drop their historic rule that teenage recruits must declare religious belief, the movement’s leaders said yesterday.

In future boys and girls who join the organisation will be allowed to declare themselves as atheists and make a pledge of honourable behaviour that makes no mention of God.

The retreat from religion marks a break with a tradition begun in 1908 when the movement’s founder Robert Baden-Powell wrote a Scout Promise which required a vow to ‘do my duty to God’.

In 1908 founder Robert Baden-Powell, left, wrote a Scout Promise, which runs in full: ‘On my honour, I promise that I will do my best to do my duty to God and to the Queen, to help other people, and to keep the Scout Law’

The promise survives to this day with the language virtually unaltered, except for alternative versions available for young people of other faiths than Christianity, including Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs. All members have to make a religious promise of some kind.

Scout leaders said yesterday that the change was being made in the cause of helping the organisation ‘increase its diversity and benefit more communities than ever before.’

The movement has been under pressure from secular campaigners to drop the religious pledge.

The National Secular Society is running a petition against religion in the Scouts following a case in the autumn when an 11-year-old from Somerset, George Pratt, was refused membership in his local troop after he said he was an atheist and declined to make the promise.

The Scouts said yesterday that they will run a consultation to ask ‘whether an alternative version of the Scout Promise should be developed for atheists, or those who feel unable to make the existing commitment.’

The organisation added that ‘the consultation is about finding a way to allow young people and adults who have not previously been able to join the movement to be part of the scouting adventure.’

Chief Commissioner Wayne Bulpitt said: ‘We are a values-based movement and exploring faith and religion will remain a key element of the scouting programme. That will not change.

'However, throughout our 105-year history, we have continued to evolve so that we remain relevant to communities across the UK.’ No form of wording of a Scout Promise for atheists has been finalised.

The Scout Promise runs in full: ‘On my honour, I promise that I will do my best to do my duty to God and to the Queen, to help other people, and to keep the Scout Law’.

Scouts also retain their original motto, ‘Be Prepared’.

Versions of the promise for the use of boys of other religions were first produced by Baden-Powell in the 1920s. But such arrangements remained informal until the 1970s, when promises were altered to suit other faiths than Christianity.

The failure to admit professed atheists has not prevented the fast expansion of the Scouts in recent years.

The movement says it has grown its British membership from below 450,000 to move than 525,000 over the past 12 years, an increase of nearly 17 per cent.

It claims to be attracting more girl recruits than the female-only Guides, who have also suggested that they will also review their religious requirements. Guides are asked to pledge ‘to love my God’.

A Scout spokesman said yesterday that the movement in Britain will not remove its demand that members do their duty to the Queen. Earlier this year the Duchess of Cambridge became a volunteer helper with a troop in North Wales.

Non-British scouts in this country are allowed a special pledge in which they promise to do their duty to the country they are living in.

Terry Sanderson of the National Secular Society said: ‘This is a move in the right direction. By adjusting their promise to include people without a religious belief, the Scouts will bring themselves in line with the reality of 21st century Britain, where more than two thirds of young people say they have no religious belief.

‘If the Scouts decide to change the promise, it would relieve many young people of having to lie about what they believe in order to be part of this great organisation.’


AGAIN:  Another false rape claim from Britain

A woman who falsely cried rape twice against her ex-boyfriend has been jailed.  Beverley Brandreth, 20, claimed that he had raped her while she was pregnant which made her lose a baby, a claim which was found to be untrue.

At the time prosecutors advised that no charge should be brought against her.  Then she made a second claim last November when she told police that he had dragged her into woods where she was beaten unconscious and raped, and he threatened to kill her if she reported the matter.

Her lies were unmasked again when the victim later proved he was in a DVD store with his new girlfriend when Brandreth claimed he attacked her.

The man she accused was arrested on both occasions and spent a total of 30 hours in custody, Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court heard.  He remained on bail for more than two months over the latest alleged offence before Brandreth, of Sharston, Manchester was arrested herself in January.

The defendant made no comment and only admitted not telling the truth when she entered a guilty plea in August to attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Sentencing her, Judge Bernard Lever said that ‘mercifully’ the accused man had been able to prove his innocence but he told Brandreth she ‘did not know that at the time you made this outrageous allegation against him’.

The sentencing comes after a woman who cried rape because she regretted having sex with three men at a drunken orgy has been jailed for two years for her ‘wicked’ lies in September.

Rosie Dodd, 20, had been out drinking when she met the men, aged 25, 23, and 21, and started groping one of them on a bus on the way home.  She had sex with them one after the other, but after telling a friend she felt ‘dirty’ she lied to police that she had been raped.

The men, two of them students, then suffered a ‘nightmare’ involving intimate examinations and being locked up in cells.

But after police became concerned about inconsistencies in Dodd’s account, she admitted the encounters had been consensual.

In a separate incident, jilted Janet Higginbottom, 36, tried to frame her ex-lover for rape after he refused to rekindle their affair has been jailed.  Higginbottom got drunk and dialled 999 at 2am falsely claiming she had been stalked and then raped in the street after being followed home.

Manchester Crown Court heard how Higginbottom of  Broadbottom, Hyde, then identified her ex as the culprit, wrongly claiming he had fled in a car after the incident even though he was at home all the time.

Higginbottom’s unnamed former boyfriend was later arrested in a 4am raid in front of his current girlfriend and held for 11 hours.


Don’t wish Beveridge a happy birthday

On the 70th anniversary of the publication of the Beveridge Report, it’s time radicals addressed the devastating social costs of welfarism

On 2 December 1942, the UK government published the Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Social Insurance and Allied Services, usually referred to as the Beveridge Report after its chair, the social reformer (and eugenicist) William Beveridge. The report is commonly regarded as a watershed in the development of the welfare state in Britain, a sign that we were becoming a more civilised and humane society. But the seventieth anniversary of the report on Saturday will no doubt prompt much handwringing about the system that the report helped to create.

The Beveridge report identified five ‘giant evils’ in society: squalor, ignorance, want, idleness and disease. Its conclusion was that in order to tackle these evils, we had to set up a system of compulsory social insurance to ensure that everyone had a subsistence level of income to rely on when they were unable to support themselves, whether as a result of unemployment, old age, disability or the death of the family ‘breadwinner’. The report’s conclusions were broadly backed by a White Paper in 1944.

The fact that the report’s recommendations were largely implemented by a Labour government, elected after the Second World War ended in 1945, has led to the creation of a myth that these were somehow ‘radical’ or ‘socialist’ policies. In fact, the general assumption that the state had to step in to reorganise and manage large swathes of society had been broadly accepted both before and particularly during the war. Compulsory national insurance had been introduced in a limited way in 1911 and state pensions had been enacted, for the very few people who lived past the age of 70, in 1908. The first call for a national health service came from the distinctly un-radical think tank, Political and Economic Planning, in 1937 - a call which was backed by the British Medical Association a year later.

Beveridge built on these developments, but what his report gave rise to was not the welfare state as we know it today. Rather, Beveridge recommended the expansion of the compulsory insurance scheme that forced workers and employers to set aside contributions in advance to offset the inevitable periods when they would be unemployed and to save for some kind of income in old age. Thus, this was not largess handed down by the goodwill of the state, but rather benefits accrued thanks to the contributions made in the good times when work was available.

There was, however, still a system of poor relief - National Assistance - to act as a safety net if these benefits ran out or for those who were not part of the scheme. But these benefits were means-tested, much to the irritation of those who had to have their resources and household income pored over. Even the entitlements accrued under the system of social insurance were far from generous, strictly designed to meet the subsistence needs of those who claimed them and no more.

These changes were not a case of the working classes beating the bosses into submission, but rather represented a recognition among society’s rulers that a bare standard of existence had to be maintained in order to run factories, to keep a reserve of labour available during recessions and to fight wars. The mish-mash of private assurance via friendly societies and charitable provision was simply too inefficient and narrowly applicable to sustain a modern society. Social welfare, education, healthcare and the wider economy had to be organised by the state because private provision had proved itself lacking and incapable. In this light, modern-day notions of saving ‘Our NHS’ look laughable - it was never ours in the first place.

Moreover, although revolutionary notions among the working classes had been put down with the smashing of the General Strike in 1926, it was clear to the ruling elite that there was always the potential for social unrest unless the worst symptoms of market failure were attended to. This new system of minimal ‘cradle to grave’ support was designed to ameliorate the worst aspects of capitalism as a way of pre-empting any wider social and political challenge.

Beveridge also built his belief in social insurance on another idea: that it was the function of the state to ensure full employment. Beveridge was inspired by the establishment’s new ideologue-in-chief, John Maynard Keynes; ideas about planning and state management of the economy started to become all the rage. The welfare bill would never become too large, Beveridge assumed, because the government would never let unemployment get out of hand. Individuals suffering temporary unemployment would be covered by their insurance contributions. In any event, it was widely assumed that people would, by and large, be too proud and independent to abuse the system and would choose work over welfare.

Yet as the decades passed, the welfare state expanded. The notion of a connection between national-insurance contributions and entitlements has pretty much disappeared. Now there is an amorphous sense of entitlement to welfare, regardless of one’s contributions. The state has positively encouraged this sentiment even as politicians have attacked ‘scroungers’ rhetorically.

For example, incapacity benefit has been expanded, so that millions of people who could work but are not currently employed are effectively told not to bother looking for jobs. This suited politicians when it became abundantly clear that full employment was gone, never to return. Taking those who might struggle to find work off the dole figures, and putting them on benefits that are not reliant upon them looking for work, might seem like a humane or generous thing to do. But in truth, the incapacity system effectively disabled them, by officially branding them ‘incapable’ - a label which many of these people have now internalised.

Welfare has expanded from a short-term fix when people can’t earn money or can’t afford healthcare into something that touches upon everyone’s lives, all of the time. Hence the howls of protest when the chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne announced in 2010 that families with a higher-rate taxpayer would lose child-benefit payments. Even well-off people now assume that they should receive routine support from the state.

In turn, the state has taken to poking its nose into every aspect of our lives. Incapable of macromanaging the economy, the authorities instead seek to micromanage our lives from ‘cradle to grave’. (In fact, from womb to grave would be more accurate, given the endless regulation of pregnant women.) Today’s announcement of a minimum price per unit of alcohol is just the latest way in which an increasingly therapeutic, welfarist-minded government is interfering in how we live our lives.

In turn, the belief that the state will provide for us has undermined the sense of needing to be independent and the importance of making a contribution. The court action brought by unemployed geology graduate Cait Reilly against the government for forcing her to undertake work at Poundland in exchange for her welfare benefits is a case in point. The scheme that she was on may have been useless at helping her to find a decent job, but to declare that being forced to work in exchange for benefits was a denial of her human rights was an absurd expression of a pervasive sense of entitlement.

Far from being radical, such demands are thoroughly conservative. You are not exactly going to overthrow the state if you are dependent upon it. While there may be much bitching from politicians past and present about the cost of welfarism, this relationship of dependence between the populace and the state is the big overarching idea by which the political class justifies itself today: ‘We will look after you’, is their message, their means of gaining political and public legitimacy.

Sadly, much of the debate about Beveridge in the next few days will be reduced to fretting about the financial cost of the welfare state today or the impact of government cuts to benefits. While the financial cost of social security is substantial, and could no doubt be reduced, it is the political, social and personal cost of welfarism that we should really be worried about.


Australia:  Vicious Qld. child protection dept. blames the victims for their bungles

Social workers seem to be scum just about everywhere.  That social work as a discipline is heavily Leftist  -- even Marxist  -- explains a lot, however.  They hate us.  The individual young social workers are mostly OK from what I have seen.  It is the old hags running the show who are full of bile

Question for the minister: Why is your department partly blaming the child victims of sex crimes, and their parents, for the incidents?

THIS is the question that Child Safety Minister Tracy Davis refuses to directly answer.

Instead, Ms Davis's office issued a statement in which she claimed the Newman Government wanted "to make Queensland's child safety system the best it possibly can be".

But child-protection advocates have taken on Ms Davis and the State Government after The Courier-Mail revealed Child Safety's practice of using legal action to pressure traumatised families badly let down by the department.

CASE 1: Mum blamed for foster child raping her eight-year-old son

In the first case, Crown Law sought a contribution claim from a mother, arguing she was to blame after her eight-year-old was allegedly raped by a foster child in her care. The department has said the mother should have better supervised the children even though the family had not been fully told about the foster child's history of sexual behaviour.

In the second case, three sisters who were repeatedly sexually abused by a foster child, also with a past not fully disclosed, have been told by the Child Safety department they also share the blame for failing to lock their bedroom doors.

CASE 2: Three sisters blamed for sexual abuse for not locking their bedroom doors

Taxpayers are funding the action against the families in a bid to make the parents partly responsible for any compensation payout to the children.

"These people are traumatised," Bravehearts founder Hetty Johnston said. "They (the department) wear them down. They wear out all (the families') financial resources until there is nothing left and then they throw them a pittance.

"These children had clear histories in sexualised behaviours. You don't place children with sexualised behaviours against other children, with children. (They) need to be placed in very specific care situations."

Child-protection body PeakCare Qld's executive director Lindsay Wegener urged the department to change its legal tactics.

"Under no circumstances should children ever be blamed or seen as contributing to a sexual assault that's been perpetrated against them," Mr Wegener said. "If it is that the department itself is hamstrung by legal process then those legal processes need to change.

"We cannot have legal processes that do not put the safety and wellbeing of children first."

Council of Civil Liberties president Michael Cope said the move to force families to contribute to any compensation could deter people from bringing claims.

"It's a harsh decision," Mr Cope said. "The Government isn't a commercial entity and all it is going to do is deprive the children of funds unless the parents themselves have an insurance policy."

Yesterday, Ms Davis's office replied to The Courier-Mail's question: "While the law prevents the Government from discussing individual child-safety cases, the Newman Government is determined to make Queensland's child-safety system the best it possibly can be and that's why we've established the Commission of Inquiry. We look forward to receiving the Inquiry's recommendations in April for revitalising the child-protection system."



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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